Teaching Kids the Value of Money – A Failed Experiment

One day, my daughter Katherine told me she wanted a Barbie doll.  (By the way, she already has seven, more than I had in my entire childhood…)

Well, you need money to buy that.

“How do I get money?”

You need a job.

“What’s a job?”

A job is something you do for someone and then someone gives you money for doing it.

“Can I have a job?”

I paused for moment.  I had flutters in my stomach thinking about how I could use this opportunity to teach Katherine the value of money and claim it is as one of my great achievements in parenting.  I had to quickly think of something she could do.  What could a five year old do to earn money?

If you put your pajamas away in the morning, I will give you a quarter.

She gave me a look.  “A quarter?  How about a dollar?”

I was taken aback.  Apparently, this child knew more about money than I had thought.  I started to do the math… a dollar a day, 30 dollars a month, 360 dollars a year?!?  Do you know how many hours of babysitting I had to do as a teenager to make that kind of money?

Why don’t we start with a quarter.

“Okay,”  she said with a bit of disappointment.

The next day I reminded her of her “job”.  She put her pajamas away and I gave her a quarter.  She seemed excited.  This continued for a few days and then Katherine lost interest and didn’t seem to care about the quarters she earned from her “job”.  Instead, she found it easier and more satisfying to take the quarters off my dresser than having to do some work.

Now, as Katherine shakes her piggy bank filled with quarters from around the house and proudly proclaims, “Look how much money I have!”,  I think about when the next opportunity might present itself and how I might be successful next time at accomplishing what I want.  Will she ever understand how hard her mommy and daddy have worked to allow those quarters to so easily slip into her hands?  I guess only time will tell…

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2 thoughts on “Teaching Kids the Value of Money – A Failed Experiment

  1. Children can be very resourceful.. 😀 You think you have everything covered and they are always one step ahead of you. I can remember my son at the age of about 11 asking for a bank loan from us. 😀

    It started when I said ‘Do you think we are the bank of mum and dad?’ To which he replied, ‘Yes now can I have a loan?’ 😀

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